June 9, 2015

May Books

#28 Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan C+
I didn't like this as much as Food: A Love Story.  Parts of this book were funny for sure, but it was just okay to me.  That's really all I have to say about it.  I did recommend it to my friend who has a toddler, because she had a go to a kid's birthday party on the particular day I was listening to it.  Gaffigan writes a funny chapter on that.

#29 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer D
Let's mark this down as the first audiobook I didn't care to finish.  I was 3 hours into an 8 hour download and I wanted to rip it in half.  Which is hard to do to something that doesn't really exist; it's just a download on my phone.
I was so bored.  And you might think that I would've enjoyed the paper copy of the book more, and maybe I would have, but the audiobook had different narrators for all the different characters and so it was like listening to a play.  I don't know how it could've been made to be more entertaining.
If you are thinking of reading this book, just know that it is a series of letters.  Just that.  A series of letters.  It takes place during post-WWII Europe and appears to be fascinating...but it came across as just dull to me.
I feel like I can't give it an F because the topic was interesting to me.  It was just boring and the main character was annoying and flippant.

#30 The Butler by Wil Haygood D
I thought this was going to be a biography of Eugene Allen, because how could you squander an opportunity to write a biography on someone who was a witness to so much American history?  Wil Haygood found a way to ruin it.  The first 1/3 of a very short book was a summary of Eugene's life.  The second third was about Barack Obama.  The third third was about how they made the movie The Butler.  This is like something they should hand out for required reading at an Obama rally.  Political affiliations aside, if photos of Eugene's life and family had not been included, I would have come away with nothing.  There wasn't enough writing for me to visualize on my own.
Interesting topic, terribly written "book".

#31 Rules of Civility by Amor Towles C+
I didn't really care for this book.  I listened in audio format and I loved the narrator (Rebecca Lowman).  I enjoyed the first third of the story.  It reminded me of The Great Gatsby, with a twist of Gossip Girl.  Tinker reminded me of Nate Archibald. However, by the time I was almost finished, I had no idea what was going on.  I was kind of confused and I wondered if there was even a point to the story at all (I don't think there was).  I wanted to know more about Kate.  I liked her.  I wanted to know much more about her background, her life, her family, etc.  Random characters kept popping up and disappearing and never developing and then you'd see them again chapters later.  I needed more information in order to enjoy the characters.

#32 Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen C+
Man, did I screw up with this one.  I bought ten of these books (along with 10 of three other books) from the book order to let my students choose from during the last week of school for our read-a-thon.  I didn't read any of them beforehand but I thought "GARY PAULSEN.  GARY PAULSEN (who lived near my school in Alaska, coincidentally) CAN DO NO WRONG."

The Lexile is a little high for the end of 4th grade, but it's a 5th grade book and I had some high readers in my class who are at or above that Lexile level and this description looks legitimate.  I mean, Hatchet is considered 110% required reading in 4th grade.  I thought it'd be nice to show them that Paulsen writes other books too. I try to find reputable authors who are still writing books that are current enough to apply to kids.  Sometimes giving them the classics just doesn't work.  I tried A Wrinkle in Time and they laughed so much at the cover art that I just took the book set back to the library (with a huff).
Essentially, with this book, I handed them the equivalent of Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.  Sigh.
I just have no idea who I'd recommend this book for.  Paulsen could have totally not used the word "skanky" and still made it be an effective story.

It was a slow month for books. That's my takeaway. When I'm stressed out, the last thing I want to do is read.  Hopefully I'll find time for a trip to the library this week.

Linking up with Jana and Steph!


  1. Oh I am so so sad about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society :( that is one of my favourite books of all time. I have never listened to it though, I've always read it. Sounds like you didn't have a lot of good luck this month, that sucks :(

  2. I always love your book recommendations! I have plans after I finish school when it comes to reading.

  3. I loved Rules of Civility and liked Guernsey as well. I read both as I've never listened to an audio book in my life!

    It sounds like the author totally screwed the pooch on the material he had for The Butler.

  4. I can't believe your kids weren't interested in A Wrinkle In Time! They don't know what they are missing!

  5. I hope you find more books you like next month!

  6. I read the Guernsey Literary Society a few years ago and I recall liking it. I have found though, that some things that I can read, I can't listen to and vice versa. I love Mary Kay Andrews audiobooks, but every time I try to read one of her books, I just can't.

  7. I'm sorry you had such a bad reading month. Those are always so frustrating.

    I know you didn't enjoy it, but you're the third person to mention that potato book so I think I'm going to check it out anyway.

  8. I keep going back and forth with the Guernsey book. I've seen/heard some amazing reviews, but then I read reviews like yours and how it's a bunch of letters and I just...can't see myself getting sucked into a book like that. Letters between characters are one of my least favorite things in books.

  9. Ooh totally going to go get that GP book now, I'm curious!

  10. Haha that line about not using the word skanky made me laugh. Sounds like you had an unsatisfactory month in books. I am scared to stumble upon an audible book that bores me to tears after having a great experience with my first one.

  11. I absolutely adored the Guernsey book. I recommend it regularly. But, that's one of the reasons I love this link-up. I love hearing other readers' perspectives on books.

  12. Yikes! Not a good month for books! I'm impressed you read that much. I'm still reading the girl on the train from 3 months ago....

  13. I agree, I didn't like Dad is Fat as much as Love Story though I gave them both 4 stars, I think. I think Dad is Fat just got better as I got into his voice. Too bad most of the books last month weren't winners :(.

  14. Hatchet for 4th grade?!? My sixth graders love it, but most of them can barely read it! :-p


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